LA GRANDE — La Grande is set to lose one of its two Umpqua Bank branches. The branch 1215 Adams Ave. will close permanently at 2 p.m. Oct. 28.

The Island City branch of Umpqua Bank, 3106 Island Ave., will stay open.

A statement from Umpqua Bank’s headquarters in Portland implied, but does not specifically state, that the Adams Avenue branch is being closed because there is less of a need for brick and mortar banks in today’s internet age.

“Umpqua continues to adapt to the reality that people visit store locations less and less and now do most of their day-to-day banking by computer or phone. As a result, we’ve been consolidating our number of stores the past few years based on a variety of factors, such as overall foot traffic and proximity to other locations,” the statement read.

Customer accounts and loans at the Adams Avenue branch will be transferred to the Island City branch. No “customer action” will be needed for this to occur, according to the statement.

The company said it will reach out to customers who are affected by the closure.

“During the transition, we are committed to working with each and every customer to make sure they have the support they need,” the company’s statement read.

A statement on Umpqua Bank’s web page for its Adams Avenue branch said of the upcoming closure, “While this means the end of our in-person relationship at this location, we are eager to continue to serve you at nearby stores and support your banking needs through our online and mobile banking services.”

The web page also stated that people who have a safe deposit box at the Adams Avenue branch are asked to come in and close their box by Oct. 14.

“If you are unable to come in by that date, we will safely and securely move your box contents to our Island City store at 3106 Island Ave., and you will be able on to pick them up on Oct. 29,’’ the website said.

The Adams Avenue branch opened in 2013, when it combined with the Sterling Bank branch at that location. The move was made after Umpqua Holdings, the Portland-based parent of Umpqua Bank, acquired Sterling Financial Corporation in a $2 billion transaction.

Once the deal was complete, the newly combined banks began operating under the name of Umpqua Bank, according to a story in the Sept. 18, 2013, Observer.

Long banking legacy

If another bank does not replace the Umpqua branch at 1215 Adams Ave., a 135-year legacy of financial institutions at the site will end.

The site’s banking story dates back to 1886 when La Grande National Bank opened there after constructing a new building. Twenty years later, the bank’s one-story building was torn down and replaced by a larger two-story structure. La Grande First National Bank, later renamed La Grande First National Bank of Oregon, continued operating there through 1975, according to La Grande historian and author Bob Bull.

At that time, the site’s building, then nearly 70 years old, was remodeled and the structure’s second story was removed. The second story had housed many businesses offices, including those for attorneys, dentists and real estate agents, Bull said.

Pioneer Federal Savings and Loan moved in following the renovation, according to the book “La Grande 1885-1985” by Richard Hermens and John Turner. Pioneer Federal operated at 1215 Adams Ave. through at least 1990.

After Pioneer Federal, Sterling Bank operated at the site until 2013 when it combined with Umpqua Bank.

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Dick Mason is a reporter with The Observer primarily covering the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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